Oh, darn, I am in need of the next installment! The Cruel Prince didn't much engage me in the first chapter, but then I found myself so immersed in the characters and plot, I couldn't put it down.
Jude, a seven-year-old mortal child, is taken with her two sisters to live in the High Court of Faery. Her feelings become divided and a love/hate dilemma twists through her emotions...but after ten years in Faery, Jude no longer feels that she belongs in the mortal world either.
Having endured bullying and disparagement from the Fey since her arrival, Jude lives in a kind of anxious fear. When she can no longer remain inconspicuous, her anger emerges, and she begins a dangerous campaign of her own as she fights back.
The Fey are beautiful, unpredictable, cruel, capricious, and immortal, and Jude finds herself both envying and despising them. Her goal to become a knight is foiled, but Jude continues to search for a way to gain some power and security. She moves from merely wanting a respected, secure position to something darker: "If I cannot be better than them, I will be so much worse."
Even in Faery, there are conspiracies. The Faery High King is ready to step down; he has chosen one of his six children as his successor. Prince Dain is generally accepted by most of the Fae as a worthy choice, but there are political intrigues at work and not everyone is pleased.
The Cruel Prince is a rather dark story suitable for a Faery Court: a protagonist who questions her position and her motives; schemes, spies, family dysfunction; betrayals; twists and turns. After a slow buildup, the plot is engrossing. In the past, I've not been a fan of Fae books, but Holly Black's complex characters and edgy narrative kept me in suspense the entire time.
Some elements of the plot are resolved, but there are so many questions about what happens next...and I hate having to wait.
Read in Oct.; blog review scheduled for Dec. 12, 2017.
NetGalley/Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Fantasy/YA. Jan. 2, 2018. Print length: 384 pages.